Choir makes debut on Sunday TV show
June 23, 2002
Nick Ardillo, a former commander of Columbus Air Force Base, last week put into words a thought that has been expressed by some folks around here over the past few weeks. He said the Bush administration's new round of base closures will be difficult to derail. In other words, a new round of base closures and realignment is coming.
Ardillo, an ardent supporter of the U.S. military, is chairman of a community support group working to ensure the viability of Columbus Air Force Base. He holds a position similar to that of Lamar McDonald, who is chairman of the Navy Meridian Team. The local group is working to ensure the continued major role in national defense played by NAS Meridian.
While it makes good politics to try to block the BRAC process as U.S. Reps. Gene Taylor and Ronnie Shows did by filing legislation to cancel the new round of military base closures it makes better sense to prepare for it. From all indications, NAS Meridian is well-positioned; indeed, while about 100 bases across the country were closed in BRAC's 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995 rounds, all of the military bases in Mississippi have been spared.
The U.S. Department of Defense has estimated it has about 25 percent more bases than needed to defend the country, fight the war on terrorism and project U.S. military might as needed. The challenge is to make sure that NAS Meridian remains a valued piece of the national defense equation over the long term and to prepare convincing arguments toward that end.
Sitting around and hoping that BRAC will simply disappear won't get the job done.